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Inaugrual meeting of the Operational Agility Forum – July 2009, Henley-on-Thames

The goal of the first meeting of the Operational Agility Forum was to bring together a thought leadership group of practitioners to explore the concept of “Operational Agility”. 

What does it mean for a business group to be operationally agile?  What benefits should it deliver?  What measures should be created to support such a concept and what barriers exist to prevent it?

The meeting concluded the following:

1)      Operations management overwhelmingly needs to deal with change.

2)      IT systems support currently is long term – which for the creation of a major piece of infrastructure works well, but for fast and responsive support to events or operations is too slow.

3)      A major hurdle to rapid systems and automation support is the communication between business and IT in order to manage requirements.

4)      A major barrier to process management improvement and process evolution is recording processes accurately and being able to manage the evolution of the process methodology with static system support.

5)      An ability for operations teams to take ownership of some of their own system configurations, that allowed business led initiatives to express and drive change at their own pace would be a major step forward in what could be termed “Operational Agility”.  A business-led computing paradigm that balanced the benefits of end-user computing with the need for IT governance and control would be a key requirement in achieving Operational Agility.

6)      A capability within operations to orchestrate systems, processes, and applications, across systems and existing applications would also be a clear first step towards achieving business led computing.

7)      A business change team or Operational Agility Team would be a natural means for delivering many process improvement projects that traditionally had been requested through IT projects.

8)      Process automation delivers significant benefits to the organisation, staff should be focused on exceptions which is more interesting for them and as many tasks as possible should be automated to reduce costs, increase accuracy and improve service.

9)      Business led computing skills would enhance the profile for operations staff career development, and would support greater autonomy and more goals based targeting within operations teams.

The forum concluded that a new paradigm of Business Led Computing was needed which enables “self service” by the business but within a controlled “corridor of IT governance.”

The full minutes of the meeting are available to forum members

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